Exec who succeeded Jay-Z has died

NEW YORK The company said in a statement that executive vice president Shakir Stewart died on Saturday. The cause of death could not immediately be confirmed.

Stewart signed such artists as Rick Ross and Young Jeezy to the label before being named in June to the post once filled by Jay-Z. In that role, Stewart oversaw the development of new talent, managed producers and guided the label's vision.

He traveled between Atlanta and New York for his job, and was a graduate of Morehouse College.

Def Jam was founded in the mid-1980s by Russell Simmons and Rick Rubin.

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